Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 79 Issue 2 (June 2006), Pages 153-307

The Stalking and Harassment Behaviour Scale: Measuring the incidence, nature, and severity of stalking and relational harassment and their psychological effects (pages 183-198)

Objectives. Assessing the incidence, nature, severity, and psychological effects of stalking and relational harassment for victims is a difficult task and conceptual issues have hampered previous research, making it difficult for psychologists and clinicians to predict psychological sequelae for victims and develop appropriate treatments.

Design. A new scale was developed that included a measure of participants' levels of subjective distress/disturbance to aid clinicians to better assess the incidence, nature, and level of stalking and/or relational harassment for victims.

Methods. From a pool of 204 participants from Newcastle University and two business offices, it was possible to differentiate 159 persons who experienced harassment and/or stalking from the remainder who were not distressed or disturbed by such attention.

Results. Stalked and/or harassed individuals were separated into five separate groups based on their levels of stalking and five score ranges with qualitative labels, devised to aid in the interpretation of victims' levels of stalking scores. Those with higher levels of stalking reported increased levels of helplessness, symptoms of anxiety, PTSD, and depression.

Conclusion. The results indicate the importance of accommodating a subjective component in the measurement and assessment of stalking and harassment. Future directions for the development and use of the new scale are discussed.

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